The Nudie Sunbather

Dear Householder

Many of my ancestors have  lived in this land of yours undisturbed for years and the government has granted me legal rights since 1937. However, lately my sunbathing in your garden has been interrupted by this very annoying photographer. As far as I know, there have been no paparazzi on this land till your arrival recently. Could you please ensure my basic rights for survival are ensured and leave me in peace to sunbathe?

Yours sincerely,

TH Alagoya, the Nudie Sunbather

Varanus bengalensis (Daudin, 1802) , Land Monitor (English) ; Thalagoya (Sinhala). Photograph©Chulie de Silva

A baby Thalagoya — Varanus Bengalensis (Daudin, 1802) , Land Monitor (English) ; Thalagoya (Sinhala). Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Dear TH Alogya

I plead guilty to stalking you the last few weeks and it was only today that I was able to capture a single photo of you. That also only through the glass doors leading to the garden. I hope you like it. Obviously you are intelligent as many of your family are supposed to be. I am impressed by your alertness, sharp sense of my presence and how fast you are able to move back in to your little abode in the “Tile cottage” in the garden, before I can click.

I am also aware that after a cold night in the cottage you need the sun’s energy and I assure you I will leave you in peace for the sunbathing. I have stalked your ancestors too but none could disappear as fast as you do or they didn’t feel as threatened as you do. But then again, I haven’t seen them, so maybe they were not as sharp as you are to have survived.

Caught sun bathing this one takes one last look back. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Caught sun bathing this one keeps a beady eye on the stalker.  30 July 2008. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

I love to watch you as I did the others who came into the garden and will continue to do so.

He is sure he is safe up on the wall. Photograph©Chulie de Silva.

He is sure he is safe up on the wall. Photograph©Chulie de Silva.

I do treat you with respect for you are a ‘Commercially threatened’ taxon in the IUCN and also in the Appendix 1 in the 1992 list of CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species). Many in your family are considered intelligent and are also favoured as pets.

Your great great great grandfather maybe — a giant of your family, almost 5 feet in length paid a very unexpected visit to my bedroom many decades ago. when this garden was much bigger and we lived in the “big house”. One afternoon, I looked up from the book I was reading in my four poster bed, wondering what the “swish, swish noise was”  And there he was larger than life. I screamed, he ran up the wall and eventually our great cook and housekeeper Sona with my sons managed to chase him back into the garden. We never saw him again.

I have watched you burrowing hunting for your breakfast, and that explains the little holes in my lawn.  I am told that you are a good friend to have as you dine on agricultural pests and are efficient scavengers in the environment.

I assure you, no harm will come to you from me but do keep your keen eye on Mr& Mrs POL Ecat, who might not be so kind to you.

More of your Family Varanidae (Monitor lizards) history, and your cousins that live in water can be found at:

Yours sincerely

Ms. Householder.

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